The Ancient Library

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On this page: Eleutheria – Eleven – Elissa – Elysium – Emancipatio – Emathion – Emeleia – Empedocles



were initiated in old age. For in the popular belief the initiation conferred a claim to the joys promised in the mysteries to the good after death.

The Eleusinian mysteries maintained their position for a long time. Among the Romans, men of the highest rank, as, for instance, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, deigned to receive the initiation. When the Christian emperor Valentinian put an end to all religious celebrations by night, he excepted the Eleusinia, which continued in existence till they were abolished by Theodosius towards the end of the 4th century a.d.

ElenthSrla. A festival in honour of Eros, celebrated at Samos. (See eros.)

Eleven. See hendeka.

Elissa. See dido.

Elysium. In Homer Elysium is a beautiful meadow at the western extremity of the earth, on the banks of the river OcSanus. Thither the favoured of Zeus, such as Rhadamanthys his son, and his son-in-law Mgnglaus, are carried without having seen death. They live a life of perfect happiness, there is no snow, nor storm, nor rain, but the cool west wind breathes there for ever. Hesiod speaks of the islands of the blest by the Ocean, where some of the heroes of the fourth generation of men live a life without pain, and where the earth produces her fruits three times in the year. According to Pindar, all who Itave three times passed blamelessly through life live there in perfect bliss under the sway of CrSnus and his assessor Rhada­manthys. Such are Cadmus and Peleus, and Achilles through the intercession of his mother Thetis with Zeus. Like Cronus, the Titans, after their reconciliation with Zeus, dwell on these islands. In later times Ely­sium with its bliss was localized in the world below, and regarded as the abode of those whom the judges of the dead had pronounced worthy of it. (Cp. hades, realm of.)

Emanclpatlo (Roman). The formal libe­ration of a son from the control (manus) of his father. If the son were sold three times over, all the rights of his father came to an end. If then a father wished to make a son his own master (sul inns'), he made [ him over three times by mancipattO or a fictitious sale to a third person. The third person emancipated him the first and second time, so that he came again into the con­trol of his father. After purchasing him a third time he either emancipated him him-

self, and thus became his patrSnus, or he sold him back to his father, to whom he now stood, not in the relation of a son, but in manciple, so that the father could liberate him without more ado. In this case the father remained patronus of the son. The emancipated son did not, as in the case of adoption (see adoption), pass into the patria pdtesttis of another, and therefore retained his father's family name. But he lost his right to inherit in default of a will.

Emathlon. Son of Eos and Tithonus, brother of Memnon, from whom he seized the government of the Ethiopians. He was elain by Heracles when travelling in search of the apples of the Hesperides.

Emmeleia. The serious and inajestji dance of the chorus in the Greek Tragedy.

Emp6d6cles. A Greek philosopher and poet, born of a rich and noble family at Agrigentum in Sicily, about 490 b.c. Like his father, M8ton, who had taken part in the expulsion of the tyrant Thrasydseus, he was an ardent supporter of the demo­cracy. He lent his aid in destroying the aristocracy and setting up a democratic constitution, although his fellow-citizens offered him the kingly dignity. He was content with the powerful influence which he derived from his wealth, his eloquence, and extraordinary knowledge. His ac­quaintance with medicine and natural science was so great as to win him the reputation of a wonder-worker in his life­time, and the position of a hero after his death. It was probably a political revolu­tion which caused him, in advanced age, to leave his country and settle in the Pelo-ponnese. He died about 430 b.c., away from Sicily. A later story represented him as having thrown himself into the crater of ^Etna, that his sudden disappearance might make the people believe him a god. The truth, however, was said to have been revealed by the appearance of his shoes, thrown up by the volcano.

He was the author of propitiatory hymns, probably of a mystical and religious charac­ter ; of a didactic poem on medicine; and of an epic poem in three books upon Nature. This last was his chef d'ceuvre, and had a high reputation in antiquity, both for its con­tents, and for its form, in which the writer took Homer for his master. Considerable fragments of it remain, written in a sublime and pregnant style. His system is grounded upon the assumption of four unchangeable elements, fire (the noblest of all), air, earth,

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